Teacher Educators: Course experiences of Bachelor of Education primary students

Year: 2012

Author: Bentley-Williams, Robyn, Forbes, Anne

Type of paper: Refereed paper


This investigation examined the course experience of the Bachelor of Education Primary students across each year of the course. The aims and objectives of the study were to identify gaps in what we know about our students; to identify relevant domains in the student experience and to assist with course improvements

A reflective inquiry paradigm was adopted for pre-service teachers to give feedback on their course experience as key stakeholders. A mixed methods approach was used to examine participants' reflections on their course experiences. The emphasis was on an analysis of the pre-service teachers' reflections of their experiences (qualitative) and students' online responses will be discussed (quantitative). 

The research was designed to engage participants in processes for twenty first century learning using technology that could be replicated in the field. The online survey items were developed through focus group discussions with volunteer students reflecting about their previous years experiences. Focus group participants were encouraged to identify their positive, negative and interesting experiences through completing a 'PMI' template prior to the focus group discussion. Each cohort in Years 1, 2 3, and 4 were invited to complete the anonymous online survey.

The findings provided insights into relevant domains of the student experience for those requiring improvements as well as those operating effectively. The anticipated benefits of the Project are:

  • for student focus group participants - increased understanding of the research process, collaborative interactions with peers and staff, a certificate of participation
  • for student survey participants - opportunity to provide anonymous feedback across the whole semester as distinct from individual unit evaluations
  • for teacher educators - increased understanding of the student experience enabling improved delivery of course materials to meet articulated student needs where possible/relevant.